TS News : Walking Can Lower Risk for Diabetes
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July 2, 2012

Walking Can Lower Risk for Diabetes

People who are at high risk of diabetes may be able to lower their risk just by taking a long stroll, according to a study completed by the University of Washington and reported by Reuters.

Researchers have long known that diet and exercise can lower your risk of diabetes, a blood sugar disorder that is disproportionately found among Latinos. But this is the first study to pinpoint exactly how much exercise (and how many steps) are needed to make an impact.

For the study, researchers asked more than 1,800 study participants to wear a pedometer for one week and tally the exact number of steps they took each day. About a quarter of the group was low activity (taking fewer than 3,500 steps a day) and half of the group was moderately active (taking fewer than 7,800 steps per day).

At the beginning of the study, none of the participants had diabetes. At a five-year follow up, 243 participants had developed the condition.

Researchers found that about 17 percent of the people in the lowest activity group developed diabetes, compared to 12 percent of the people who took more than 3,500 steps per days.

Furthermore, after taking into account high risk factors for diabetes (like age and smoking history), researchers found that people who walked the most were 29 percent less likely to develop diabetes than those who walked the least.

"Our finding wasn't surprising given that other studies have shown that even light activity is associated with a lower risk of diabetes," said Amanda Fretts, lead author of the study. “Increased physical activity may prevent weight gain and promote weight loss, a major determinant of diabetes risk.”

How does walking produce these effects? According to Fretts, physical activity affects glucose and other molecules in the body that are linked to diabetes.

If you’re starting your own walking routine, keep in mind that one mile is around 2,000 steps and daily walking recommendations are about a minimum of 10,000 steps per day.

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